Amanda Baros is ready to put her coaching shoes back on as she takes on the cheer head cheer position at Valencia High School.

Baros, formerly Amanda Esquibel-Chavez, recently got married.

“I just plan to pick up where the old coaches left off,” Baros said. “The old coaches ran a very good program, I’m just going to keep doing what they were doing and hopefully continue their winning traditions.”

Baros will replace Alexis Montano, who led the team to a state championship in 2019.

Valencia High School took fourth place in the 4A all-girl category at the New Mexico State Spirit Championship in May.

Baros said that she found out through her daughter, who is on the team, the head coach position would be opening up, so she jumped at the opportunity.

“I’m just excited to take on this new role,” she said.

Baros’s cheer career may have began at Robertson High School in Las Vegas, N.M., but she had been training as a dancer since she was six years old. Since her high school did not have a dance team, she figured “cheerleading was the next best thing.”

After graduation, she began to study early-childhood education at Highlands University where she also cheered. Her coaching career also began at this time as an assistant cheer coach at her alma mater, Robertson.

She also danced with the New Mexico State University Sun Dancers in the mid-1990s.

While working as a civilian teacher at the Wiesbaden Army base from 2009 to 2013, she led her school’s cheerleading team to two European titles, topping all of the other department of defense schools located in Europe.

Soon, Baros felt home calling her and made the decision to move back to New Mexico to be closer to her family. Since she left the United States, her brother, father and grandmother had all relocated from Las Vegas to Valencia County, prompting her move to the area.

Now that she is back in New Mexico, she is pursuing another degree in special education at Western Governors University in an entirely online program and coached dance at School of Dreams Academy during the 2020-2021 school year.

Tryouts for VHS were held in mid-July, almost two months later than when cheerleading tryouts are typically held following a late-starting season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Baros said she is excited for this year and ready to get to know her student athletes.

“I’m looking for a good attitude — kids that are looking to work hard, learn new things and work together as a team,” she said ahead of tryouts. “Skills can always be taught and learned, but they need to come with a good attitude and be willing to work hard. That’s all that matters.”

To ease the transition to a new coach, Baros said she plans to bring back the 2020-2021 cheerleading coach during practices early in the season to help out.

Since she also has a strong background in dance, Baros said she plans on working more closely with the Valencia dance team and their new coach Leo Archibeque to create a closer knit spirit program at the school. Archibeque started coaching the dance team in the middle of last school year.

“He and I are working very closely together. He and I want to build a whole spirit program, not just separate cheer and dance,” she said.

They plan to bring the teams together for occasional joint practices and combined routines for times when the school needs more spirit, like during homecoming.

Baros also said she plans to get her team more involved with the Valencia County community, volunteering for school supply drives and participating in local parades.

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Makayla Grijalva was born and raised in Las Cruces. She is a 2020 graduate of The University of New Mexico, where she studied multimedia journalism, political science and history. She covers the village of Los Lunas, Los Lunas Schools, SODA and the town of Peralta.